Skip to content
How many guests?
Dog-friendly homes?
(Max 2 with fee)
All posts

Things to Do in Eastham (MA)

Table of Contents

1. Must-See Sights

2. Top Activities

3. Family Adventures

4. Pet-Friendly

5. Culinary Scene

6. Travel Tips

Eastham (Massachusetts) is a world of windswept dunes, endless blue skies, and a rich tapestry of history. Nestled on the outer cape between the wild Atlantic Ocean and the serene Cape Cod Bay, this charming New England town is renowned for its pristine beaches, rich history, and breathtaking natural beauty.

Again and again, visitors here are captivated by the endless expanse of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and transported by the historic landmarks that whisper tales of the town's vibrant past, from the iconic Nauset Light guiding ships through treacherous waters to First Encounter Beach, where pilgrims first met the Nauset people.

It's all in today's post, where we'll delve into top sights, unveil hidden gems, and curate unique Eastham encounters for you to experience just a short distance away from your Eastham Vacation Rental.


Top Attractions in Eastham

No visit to Eastham is complete without an experience of its showpiece attractions – sites that blend breathtaking natural beauty with fascinating historical significance. These landmarks stand as testaments to Eastham's rich past and captivating present, and offer a glimpse into the town's unique character.

Standing watch over the Atlantic's embrace is the iconic Nauset Lighthouse. Built in 1717, and operated today by the Nauset Light Preservation Society, this active lighthouse has guided vessels through treacherous waters for over three centuries. Visitors can climb the tower for panoramic coastal views, or simply admire its majestic presence from the adjacent Nauset Light Beach.

Further down the coast, a famous trio of sentinels stands guard – the Three Sisters Lighthouses. Built in the 1870s, these lighthouses were positioned strategically to prevent shipwrecks on the challenging Nauset sandbar. Today, they offer a picturesque backdrop for strolls along the beach.

Another opportunity to step back in time awaits at the Fort Hill Rural Historic District. Managed by the Cape Cod National Seashore, this captivating district boasts over 30 historic structures, including 18th and 19th-century houses, barns, and a schoolhouse. Take a self-guided walking tour, or delve deeper into historical reenactments and living history programs that offer another opportunity to connect with Eastham's vibrant cultural heritage.

AdobeStock_518665821 (1)

Outdoor Adventures in Eastham

Eastham is far more than just another picturesque escape – it's also an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Whether you seek solo adventures or family-friendly fun, Eastham offers a diverse spectrum of activities that take full advantage of its captivating natural surroundings.

The scenic Fort Hill Trail path leads you through rolling hills and meadows, culminating in panoramic views of the coastline. For a closer view of wildlife, kayak through the serene waters of Salt Pond or the vibrant Nauset Marsh, spotting diverse birdlife and basking in the tranquility of nature.

Coast Guard Beach is a popular beach destination, thanks to its pristine white sand and gentle waves - although even in July you may find them a little chilly!

For something a little more adventurous, embark on a seal-watching tour, where you can witness these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. Alternatively, cycle along the scenic Cape Cod Rail Trail, a paved pathway that winds through Eastham and offers a leisurely way to explore the charming town and its natural beauty.


Family-friendly Eastham

Eastham is a treasure trove of unforgettable family memories, with engaging activities that cater to all ages.

At the top of the list is the Eastham Windmill, a restored 18th-century windmill that offers interactive exhibits and historical demonstrations. The Captain Penniman House is another popular historic site,  built in 1868 and managed by the American National Park Service since 1963. Or, get a taste of what it was like to be a student in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at the 1869 Schoolhouse Museum, where visitors can explore a variety of historical artifacts.

The whole family can participate in ranger-led programs at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, learning about the Cape Cod ecosystem through guided hikes and nature walks.

At the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, families can explore diverse hiking trails, encounter abundant birdlife, and kayak through the scenic salt marshes.

Or visit the largest glacial erratic boulder on Cape Cod: Doane Rock, today a popular picnic spot located next to the homestead of Deacon John Doan, one of the original settlers of Eastham.

For classic Cape Cod beach fun, head to First Encounter Beach, for its vast expanse of tidal flats at low tide – ideal for exploring tide pools and discovering hidden treasures. Inland, Great Pond Beach is another popular location for canoeing and family outings.


Pet-friendly Eastham

While Eastham may not be a dedicated pet paradise, travelers with furry companions can still find much to enjoy during their stay. During the summer, dogs are permitted in Eastham Parks and Conservation area trails. They're also permitted at Rock Harbor before 9AM and after 4PM from June 15th to Labor Day, with no restriction in the off-season. 

From November 1 to April 30 dogs are welcome on the bike trail between Salt Pond and Coast Guard Beach. From October 16 to May 14, they're permitted at freshwater ponds within the Cape Cod National Seashore (beaches and water). Some leashing requirements may be in effect. From June 15th through Labor Day, no dogs are allowed on town beaches except at Dyer Prince Road Beach on the Eastham side of Rock Harbor, where they are allowed before 9AM and after 4PM

Some outdoor cafes in Eastham offer pet-friendly seating on their patios, allowing you and your furry friend to enjoy a meal together. It's essential to call ahead and confirm their pet policy before your visit.

Note that Del Mar’s Eastham Vacation Rentals offers pet-friendly accommodations!

Screenshot 2024-03-12 at 2.04.40 AM

Dining in Eastham

Eastham offers a diverse selection of dining experiences. From classic New England seafood shacks to cozy diners and a touch of international flavor, there's something to satisfy almost all cravings.

For a quintessential Cape Cod experience, it's hard to beat Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar (in season). Expect fresh seafood, casual vibes, and a side of nostalgia with your order. If you're seeking a quick and satisfying midday bite, Sam's Deli is a local institution offering classic sandwiches packed with flavor (also in season). For a year-round family-friendly option, the Fairway Restaurant and Pizzeria dishes up crowd-pleasing favorites in a casual setting. Another family-friendly spot offering both pizza and mini-golf is the Red Barn Pizza & More restaurant.

Of course, no trip to the Cape is complete without local specialties. Most restaurants will tempt you with their take on clam chowder and lobster rolls -- but don't be afraid to ask around for local favorites!


Travel Tips for Visiting Eastham

Here are some practical tips to help you navigate your Eastham adventure with ease:

  1. Timing is everything: To avoid the peak summer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall).  You'll still enjoy pleasant weather and open attractions without the hustle and bustle. 
  2. Getting around: While a car is recommended for exploring the wider Cape Cod area, Eastham itself is quite walkable and bike-friendly. The seasonal Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) shuttle also stops in Eastham, offering transportation to nearby towns like Orleans and Provincetown.
  3. Beach logistics: Beach parking can be tricky, especially during peak season. Arrive early to secure access to popular beaches like Coast Guard and Nauset Light.  Be sure to purchase any necessary parking permits in advance and adhere to posted restrictions.
  4. Explore beyond Eastham: Cape Cod is full of charming towns and attractions. For a day trip, consider taking a ferry to Martha's Vineyard, venturing north to the lively artist's haven of Provincetown, or exploring historic Plymouth. Closer by, Chatham, Barnstable, Orleans, and Brewster all offer unique shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Don't forget to explore the iconic Route 6, winding through the heart of the Cape.
  5. Gateway from Boston: If you're flying into Boston or making it a start or end point of your trip, allow ample time for travel to and from Eastham, especially during peak traffic periods. 
  6. Accommodations: To make the most of your stay, book a luxury Eastham vacation rental with Del Mar Vacation Rentals.

Enjoy your Eastham getaway!

Related posts